CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer’s focus this weekend will be on Martinsville Speedway and preparing for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Bowyer is eighth in points and hopes success on the Virginia half-mile track propels him even higher in the standings.
But Saturday afternoon Bowyer’s attention will be on his University of Kansas Jayhawks who take to the basketball court in the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans against Ohio State. The Emporia, Kan. native spent time this week giving grief to his North Carolina Tar Heel friends after the Jayhawks beat Carolina on Sunday. If the Jayhawks win on Saturday, Bowyer plans to make the trip to New Orleans on Monday night for the championship game. He might even take a special guest on the trip.
BOWYER ON KANSAS IN THE FINAL FOUR: “I love watching the Jayhawks when I get a chance. I’m not the best with names and statistics and all that stuff, but I’m from Kansas - born and raised - and it’s been a lot of fun to give everyone from North Carolina a hard time during the last week. I sent out a Tweet after they beat North Carolina to some of the Tar Heel folks in the garage asking if they knew who won the game - just to rub it in a little bit.
“The next game is on Saturday against Ohio State down in New Orleans. If they beat Ohio State I’m going to be headed down there one way or another for Monday night. And, if the Jayhawks play Kentucky in the final game I’m going to throw the invite out there to (car owner and huge Kentucky fan) Michael Waltrip to see if he wants to come down with me. However, his ride home might depend on the outcome of the game.” (Laughs).
ON MARTINSVILLE: “Martinsville is a great racetrack! I love that place as a driver and as a fan. It’s short track racing the way it should be. Track position is king at Martinsville. You talk about a place where qualifying is a big deal - Martinsville is it. You want to make sure you turn in a good lap on Saturday, because it’s hard to gain ground on race day!
“I’ve had some good races there - and some not so good. I know that (crew chief) Brian (Pattie) isn’t afraid to gamble for position if we need to, but I’m hoping that we put down a good lap on Saturday afternoon so we at least start with good track position. I know we’ve got good cars and MWR has a good short track program, so I’m ready to see what we’ve got for the weekend.”
ADDITIONAL NOTES OF INTEREST
· Bowyer at Martinsville: Bowyer will make his 13th career NSCS start at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. In 12 previous starts, he has one top- five and six top-10 finishes. He finished a career-best fifth in the spring 2009 race. Last spring he led 91 laps and finished ninth. On average he starts 18th and finishes 15th. Bowyer has four straight top-10 finishes in the spring race at Martinsville. He averages an 11th place finish in the spring compared to a 20th place finish in the fall.
· Chassis Notes: The No. 15 5-hour ENERGY team will race chassis No. 701 at Martinsville. Chassis No. 693 will serve as the backup. Both chassis are new in 2012.
· Twitter: Bowyer joined Twitter on Thursday, March 8 while in Las Vegas. Since that time, @ClintBowyer has gained more than 19,000 followers.